Home Laws and Technical Issues Try or no try, you be the ref

Try or no try, you be the ref

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So here we were watching the game on Friday night between the Leopards and the Blue Bulls when 5 minutes into the second half the Blue Bulls mauled the ball for about 30 meters to score a try, or was it?

My initial reaction to the move was that there was no way in hell that could be a try. At one stage the Blue Bulls players seemed to peel off the maul with 3 players running towards the try-line unopposed by any Leopards players, with the ball carrier ‘shielded’ by a ‘blocker’.

The referee waved play on and the Blue Bulls went on to score a try.

It is an area that has been hotly debated on this website before, so let us have a look at the laws of the maul applicable to this situation.

Law 17 of the IRB laws for rugby has two very important points we must consider in this instance;

Part of Law 17.4 (f) states:

(f)       When players of the team who are not in possession of the ball in the maul voluntarily leave the maul such that there are no players of that team left in the maul, the maul may continue

Law 17.5 goes on to cover when a maul ‘successfully ends’

A maul ends successfully when :

• the ball or a player with the ball leaves the maul

• the ball is on the ground

• the ball is on or over the goal line

In both these instances the Blue Bulls were quite legal it seems.  The fact that the Leopards broke away from the maul does not mean the maul ended, and none of the factors which contributes to successfully ending a maul applies here either.

This brings us to whether the Blue Bulls were guilty of truck-and-trailor…

The only questions that can be asked is whether the Blue Bulls player (number 1) broke away from the original maul. If he did, the ball carrier (bound to this player) also ‘left’ the original maul which will mean the maul is legally over, and if that player continues to block the ball carrier, it is obstruction.

Below is a video of the incident, starting at 1:29 on the timeline.

For now, I will let you decide whether this try should have been allowed, or whether this was clear obstruction.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I remember seeing t in the run of play and not finding any fault with the ruling! But I was shocked by the Pumas Hooker’s reaction! Stonehouse needs to teach his players some of the rules, they want to play professional rugby without knowing the rules even slightly. Pumas play that night was undisciplined, and down right dirty! The Ref needed to take those moments of dirty play more seriously and a yellow or 2 wasn’t uncalled for, he lost control of the game and allowed the Pumas to do what they wanted! 10 min sinbin could’ve given them the opportunity to read the rule book!

    If they knew their rules, they would’ve stopped the maul, by not binding right in the beginning! But pealing off is considered voluntarily leaving the maul!

  2. That must be one of the most beautiful tries ever.
    How hard is it to stay on your feet running like that?

    The ruling was good. The defenders left the maul.

  3. Try.

    Morne I know you hate the maul… but geez dude… this was a classic example of how to use it as an attacking platform. Many teams have become very proficient at counter attackinbg the maul and the Australians are particularly excellent at defending against the maul.

    The idea of splitting off more than one player to form a second maul with defenders drawn into the initial maul is excellent. Referees have become far more lenient in allowing countering players to disrupt the maul illegally by “tripping” or weedling their way round the side whilst still bound to the maul to have “come through the middle”

    The maul is not the weapon it was under the Bulls of a few years back but still a pretty potent weapon when used correctly.

    This example = great

    Boks v Aus in Durban = awful

  4. “The only questions that can be asked is whether the Blue Bulls player (number 1) broke away from the original maul. If he did, the ball carrier (bound to this player) also ‘left’ the original maul which will mean the maul is legally over, and if that player continues to block the ball carrier, it is obstruction.”

    Chicken and egg situation, did the Bulls player leave the maul and take the last defending green player with him or did the green player leave the maul and take the blue player with him?

  5. Reply to JT_Proooooovince! @ 1:37 am:

    1 green player and 3 blue bound and on their feet. The ball off the ground. That is the definition of a maul. Thus all the other players broke away and the maul never ended.

    The only real question is a moment later when the 2nd blue player was not properly bound to the 1st for a short period. One may conclude that the front player had left the maul and joined back incorrectly.

  6. Love the way the leader of the maul can sprint up-right and simply hand off anyone in his path…

    This was almost as good as the Bulls ‘sprinting’ mauls in the S15 when they were at their most desperate on the log…

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